Nature of leisure activities among the chinese-american elderly

Maria T. Allison, Charles W. Geiger

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    46 Scopus citations


    Despite the growing literature on the elderly population, there has been relatively little research on the nature of leisure among culturally diverse elderly populations. The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze the patterns and nature of leisure among a particular ethnic population, the Chinese-American elderly. Qualitative techniques were used to identify the types of activities engaged in, the nature of those activities, and the reasons for continued participation among 25 Chinese-American elderly residing in a large southwestern metropolitan community. Results indicated that these individuals, many of whom had lived in the United States for most of their adult lives, were involved in a wide range of leisure activities including tai chi, mah-jongg, television watching, walking, reading, gardening, and sewing. Participants engaged in many of these activities for entertainment and personal development. These activities served educational and cultural functions as well. For example, activities such as sewing, reading, and cooking were filled with culturally specific content; that is, they were based on the cultural traditions and habits of the individuals involved. Simultaneously, the respondents used many of their leisure activities (e.g., reading and television watching) as vehicles to educate themselves about the language and ways of the American culture. These data are discussed with regard to assimilation and ethnicity theories, and several emergent themes suggested in the data are presented.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)309-319
    Number of pages11
    JournalLeisure Sciences
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


    • Chinese-American elderly
    • Ethnic elderly
    • Ethnicity
    • Leisure activities

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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